GOD ONLINE: Exploring media spirituality

Web sites, TV, films, books and the search for meaning.

Clicking a prayer?

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Web-enhanced serenity may sound oxymoronic: Can one withdraw from the world by “plugging into it”? But the Irish Jesuits of Sacred Space claim that anyone can learn to pray — even in front of a computer — by following a few steps.

Those steps include the presence of God, freedom, consciousness, scripture, conversation and a conclusion. Click on each step and read each section — a prayer or reflection or a biblical passage — then click “Next” when you’re ready. You can also backtrack and repeat steps.

The whole presentation is meant to impart peace and calm: simple language, mild mottled backgrounds, a pastoral picture on the homepage. Even the steps of prayer fade in and out as you click them, rather than switching abruptly.

Nor are you just a passive consumer. In a section called the Chapel of Intentions, you can post prayers of your own, for yourself or others. The list is sent to prayer communities, and some prayers are posted online.

If you don’t know what to pray for, the Jesuits suggest sharing Pope Benedict XVI’s current prayer concerns, or saying a novena (nine-day prayer series) for peace. The sample prayers come not only from Pope John XXIII, but also from Buddhist, Jewish, Jain, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and Bahai sources.

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Written by Jim Davis

September 26, 2008 at 3:12 am

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